A and T Recovery

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A and T Recovery
IndustryAircraft salvage
Founded1988 (1988)[1]
FounderAllan Olson and Taras Lyssenko
Vought F4U-1 "Bird Cage" Corsair Bureau Number 02465 being lifted from Lake Michigan by A and T Recovery.

A and T Recovery (Allan Olson and Taras Lyssenko) is an American company that has the primary purpose to locate and recover once lost World War II United States Navy aircraft for presentation to the American public.[2] They have recovered nearly forty such aircraft, mainly from Lake Michigan.[3] The aircraft were lost during the aircraft carrier qualification conducted out of the former Naval Air Station Glenview that was located north of Chicago, Illinois. The Navy had used two ships, the USS Wolverine (IX-64) and the USS Sable (IX-81), to qualify thousands of pilots.[4]


A and T Recovery began their recovery efforts in the 1980s and continue to the present day. As part of the aircraft collection of the US Navy, the aircraft they retrieved are managed by the National Naval Aviation Museum, which is under the direction of the Naval History and Heritage Command.[5]


10 USC § 2572 (b), a section of United States Code, allows the Museums of the US Department of Defense to exchange condemned and/or obsolete military material for similar materials, equipment, search and recovery services, restoration services, and educational programs.[6][7]

During the 1990s, the Director of the National Naval Aviation Museum used this section in law to fund the work of the firm along with the restoration of the rescued aircraft.[8] The aircraft located and recovered over the recent years have been funded by private donations thru the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, Inc. which oversees the contracting for all activities of the effort.[9]

Lake Michigan projects[edit]

Historically significant U.S. Navy aircraft recovered e include the Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber Bureau Number 2106 which survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway[10][11] the only Vought SB2U Vindicator Scout-Bomber known to exist,[12][13] the Grumman F6F Hellcat Fighter Bureau Number 25910,[14] and an extremely rare early "Bird Cage" Vought F4U-1 Corsair.[15][16]

Some of their other rescued aircraft are:

Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat Bureau Number 25910 during recovery from Lake Michigan by A and T Recovery.
Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat Bureau Number 25910 on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
  • Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat 25910 National Naval Aviation Museum[18]
  • Vought SB2U-2 Vindicator 1383 National Naval Aviation Museum[19]
The only known to exist Vought SB2U-2 Vindicator Bureau Number 1383 on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum. Recovered by A and T Recovery from Lake Michigan in 1990.

Along with aircraft the firmhas also located shipwrecks; the most notable is the German Type UC III submarine SM UC-97, a World War I U-Boat.

At the end of World War I the German Navy was forced to surrender many of their war ships to the World War I Allies. The records indicate that as many as 172 submarines (U-boats, Unterseeboote) were surrendered. Many of these vessels were brought to Harwich,[29] England then "allocated" or "assigned" to the different Allied countries, with 6 going to the United States of America. The UC-97 was one of these vessels; she was brought to the US and toured the Great Lakes under the command of Charles A. Lockwood. He detailed his experience with the submarine in his book Down To the Sea in Subs, My Life in the U.S. Navy.[30]

On the morning of June 7, 1921 the UC-97 was sunk by the training ship U.S.S. Wilmette formerly the Eastland. The firm located the resting point of the vessel in 1992.[31][32]

Thomas Hume shipwreck[edit]

The Thomas Hume was a Great Lakes schooner used to carry lumber. She left Chicago May 21, 1891, but never arrived at the destination port.[33] The firm located her nearly intact about fifteen miles off of Chicago.[34]

Early Holocene Forest (Olson Site)[edit]

The most unusual find of the firm is the Early Holocene Forest. In 1989, while searching for aircraft in southern Lake Michigan the firm located a number of tree stumps intact on the lake's floor.[35][36][37][38] The stumps were the remains of a deciduous forest that radiocarbon dating showed to be over 8,000 years old.[39]

Beyond Lake Michigan[edit]

San Diego TBD Devastator[edit]

One of the long sought after historic aircraft that there is a desire to be added to the collection of the National Naval Aviation Museum is the Douglas TBD Devastator. The firm located one of these aircraft, TBD-1 BuNo.0377, lost off the San Diego coast.[40][41]

San Diego SB2C Helldiver[edit]

In 2009, a sport fisherman, Duane Johnson, saw an airplane on his fish finding electronics while traversing Lower Otay Reservoir.[citation needed] The airplane was a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver that had ditched in the reservoir because of engine failure while conducting dive bombing practice toward the end of World War II. In August 2010 the firm, with the support of San Diego Park Rangers, removed the aircraft and delivered it to the National Naval Aviation Museum where it awaits restoration and public display.[42][43]

D. Blan Stewart[edit]

On Halloween (October 31) afternoon, 1988 D. Blan Stewart flying a single engine aircraft disappeared over Lake Martin, Alabama. Soon after the FBI began a manhunt believing he had faked his death to avoid prosecution.[44][45] In November 1990 A and T Recovery located the aircraft at the bottom of Lake Martin, Mr. Stewart's remains were in the cockpit.[46][47]


In 2012, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library produced, for WTTW Chicago, an episode of "Citizen Soldier," where a major portion of the program examines Lyssenko's life work in recovering lost Navy World War II aircraft from Lake Michigan.[48][49][50]


  1. ^ "Corporation File Detail Report". Illinois Secretary of State. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  2. ^ "TV Special-Lake Michigan Carriers and the Aircraft Recovery Operations".
  3. ^ "Chicago's Sunken Treasures". Archived from the original on 2014-10-04.
  4. ^ "The Navy's Historic Aircraft Wrecks in Lake Michigan". Archived from the original on 2006-12-07.
  5. ^ Rasmussen, Robert; Lyssenko, Taras; Ellis, Ed; Marquardt, Bill (1 March 2013). "TV Special-Lake Michigan Carriers and the Aircraft Recovery Operations". National Naval Aviation Museum. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  6. ^ "10 USC § 2572(b)" (PDF).
  7. ^ "Department of the Navy Museum Exchanges" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-02-28. Retrieved 2014-10-03.
  8. ^ "Navy Aircraft as Artifacts". Archived from the original on 2000-08-23.
  9. ^ "Aircraft Restoration".
  10. ^ "SBD Dauntless BuNo 2106".
  11. ^ Veronico, Nicholas A. (2013-06-15). Two Navy Crosses in SBD-2 BuNo 2106. ISBN 9781610588119.
  12. ^ "SB2U Vindicator".
  13. ^ Veronico, Nicholas A.; Veronico, Nick (2013-06-17). The Last Vindicator SB2U-2 Up From Lake Michigan. ISBN 9780760344095.
  14. ^ "Restored Treasure: Recovered Navy Hellcat Dedicated at Pensacola".
  15. ^ "World War II plane pulled from Lake Michigan".
  16. ^ Veronico, Nicholas A. (June 2014). Bringing Up a Birdcage Corsair. ISBN 9780760346013.
  17. ^ Black, Lisa (8 November 2010). "World War II fighter plane recovered from Lake Michigan". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  18. ^ "WWII Hellcat recovered from Lake Michigan".
  19. ^ Veronico, Nicholas A.; Veronico, Nick (2013-06-17). The Last Vindicator, SB2U-2 Up From Lake Michigan. ISBN 9780760344095.
  20. ^ "Airport honors original O'Hare Memorial to downed pilot will house rebuilt World War II fighter". The Baltimore Sun. 24 August 1997. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  21. ^ Vittachi, Imran (3 September 2004). "Midway delivers fitting tribute". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  22. ^ "The Battle of Midway Memorial". Archived from the original on 2014-12-26.
  23. ^ "Air Zoo to restore historic WWII fighter plane after 68 years at Lake Michigan bottom".
  24. ^ "Douglas SBD Dauntless". The National World War II Museum. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  25. ^ "SBD DAUNTLESS" (PDF). Patriots Point. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless". San Diego Air & Space Museum. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat". San Diego Air & Space Museum. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  28. ^ Niedner, Rick (2012), "Restoration on SBD-3 Reveals Its History" (PDF), More than Scuttlebutt...., National Museum of the Marine Corps, pp. 1–2, archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-23, retrieved 16 August 2018
  29. ^ Whittle, David (30 July 2014). "Harwich, Essex: Over 100 U-boats Surrender". BBC. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  30. ^ Denger, Mark J. "Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, Jr". California State Military Museums. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  31. ^ Bukowski, Doug (28 January 1998). "Chicago's Other U-boat". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  32. ^ Meincke, Paul (20 May 2013). "WWI German submarine has underwater Lake Michigan grave". ABC7. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Thomas Hume".
  34. ^ "Lost To The Lake: The Disappearance of the Thomas Hume".
  35. ^ "A Sunken Forest Shows Lakes' Past".
  36. ^ "Ancient Stumps in Lake Michigan".
  37. ^ "Our Ancient (?) Shoreline".
  38. ^ Miller, Barry; Tevesz, Michael; Pranschke, Frank (2000). "An early Holocene oxygen isotope record from the Olson buried forest bed, Southern Lake Michigan". Journal of Paleolimnology. 24 (3): 271–276. doi:10.1023/A:1008183426826.
  39. ^ "Discovery and Preliminary Investigations of the Remains of an Early Holocene Forest on the Floor of Southern Lake Michigan" (PDF).
  40. ^ "Rare WWII Plane Discovered Off Local Waters".
  41. ^ "'Holy Grail' of Warbirds Found off San Diego".
  42. ^ "Rare World War II dive bomber raised from reservoir".
  43. ^ "World War II plane raised from San Diego reservoir". Archived from the original on 2014-12-27.
  44. ^ "Twins say father could have faked death".
  45. ^ "Stewart in TV crime programs spotlight".
  46. ^ "Finding of Plane Wreckage Ends Mystery About Missing Executive".
  47. ^ Schafer, Elizabeth D. (2002-11-01). Lake Martin, Alabama's Crown Jewel, Blan Stewart. ISBN 9780738523903.
  48. ^ "Lake Michigan's Lost World War II Aircraft". Pritzker Military Museum & Library. December 4, 2012.
  49. ^ "TV Special-Lake Michigan Carriers and the Aircraft Recovery Operations". National Naval Aviation Museum. Pritzker Military Museum & Library. March 1, 2013.
  50. ^ "Citizen Soldier: Lake Michigan's Lost World War II Aircraft". www.youtube.com. Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Retrieved February 23, 2013.

External links[edit]